Newspaper headlines: 'Pestminster crackdown' and US-Russia probe

Donald Trump Image copyright EPA

The Daily Mail says the first charges brought by the special investigation into links between Donald Trump's election campaign and Russia have left the White House "reeling".

The Guardian talks of the president being "under pressure", while the Financial Times says "this is not political posturing" by the special investigator.

The FT has no doubt that "the integrity of the US political system is at stake".

The Times thinks the prosecution of the "veteran Republican strategist" Paul Manafort is a sign that the investigator "sees financial impropriety as a legitimate target" - something far wider than an inquiry into last year's election.

Walter Ellis, on the Reaction website, judges that the president is in "a ton of trouble" and asks whether this could be "Donald Trump's White House Watergate moment?"

Westminster scandal

The Sun devotes its front page to the apology by Defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon for touching the knee of a journalist - 15 years ago.

The presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer - whose knee was touched - is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying that she worries that "wild rumours" are fuelling "a witch hunt".

What the Daily Telegraph calls a "scandal engulfing Westminster" shows every sign of continuing to spread.

Patrick Kidd, of The Times, wonders what the party of primary school children - on a visit to the gallery - must have made of the speeches.

"The subject," says the Guardian, was "parliament at its worst" - "sexual pestering and bullying."

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A "vortex of anguish" about sexual harassment is sweeping through Westminster, according to Quentin Letts of the Daily Mail.

Reflecting on the mood in the Commons yesterday, he says anyone might think the legislature was "a dungeon of bacchanalian revels" and "squalid, whiplashed oglers... sketched by a modern Hogarth".

The Sun says the growing number of sexual misconduct claims, made about at least 36 Conservative MPs - 21 of them past or present ministers - has left parliament "in a panic".

The paper says it is time for "pest control" but worries that changes in the rules should not be so broad that they include extra-marital affairs between consenting colleagues.

The Daily Express agrees, saying "abuse is wrong" but a clumsy fumble or flirtatious remark should not be seen as "some sort of assault".

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Kevin Spacey has faced criticism for coming out as gay at the same time he apologised for making "drunken sexual advances" towards a 14-year-old actor

The actor Kevin Spacey is judged by the Guardian and others to have done himself no favours by "choosing to come out as gay" at the same time as apologising for making "drunken sexual advances" to a 14-year-old actor.

Matt Cain, writing in the Sun, says linking "gay men and sexual predators" is "a real kick in the teeth to the gay community".

The Daily Mail relates the star's admission to the allegations against the producer Harvey Weinstein, saying it is a case of "another Hollywood darling accused of being a predator - and once again, everyone knew".

Digital divorces

Couples wanting to get divorced will soon be able to complete the formalities online, as the Daily Telegraph reports.

The paper calls it a "digital revolution", which would simplify the ending of marriages when both parties agree that the relationship has broken down.

A cartoon in the Mail shows a couple of men chatting over drinks in a living room, while a woman toils in the kitchen behind.

One says: "We would have separated years ago - but we're still on a dial-up connection."

'Hotbed of hysteria'

Exeter was "a previously unrecognised 17th century hotbed of hysteria over sorcery", according to research reported on by the i.

Professor Mark Stoyle has found that more than 20 women and men were denounced to magistrates as witches and sorcerers.

According to the Guardian, the city appears to have been the first place where a witch was put to death in England, as well as the last in 1685.

Professor Stoyle says many of the accused were poor, elderly women, and their crimes were sometimes no more than being seen "sitting by the fire with a toad in her lap".